To the delight of many, Overstock.com has recently announced they will start accepting bitcoins as a form of payment next year. While the official statement is that they will begin accepting them in the second half of next year, Patrick Byrne, CEO of overstock.com asserts the change could happen as early as four months from now.
[Interestingly, overstock.com now ship to Australia.]
Currently, overstock.com brings in over $1 billion a year in revenue from selling closeout merchandise from many big name brands. Byrne explained in an article for The Los Angeles Times, “I think we’ll pick up…the market share of people who’s prefer to pay in bitcoin, with an honest currency. Also philosophical, part and parcel with my belief in a limited government – that is you want limited government you can’t give it power to expand the monetary base.”
This statement by Byrne, coincides with his self-proclaimed libertarian views. Byrne is a strong supported of unregulated cryptocurrency like Bitcoins. Overstock.com isn’t the only company to start accepting bitcoins as payment. Reddit, OkCupid, Ouya, and Virgin Galactic are also now accepting bitcoins.
Despite their recent growth in support, bitcoins still face a number of obstacles. For example, the value of bitcoins fluctuates to the point of being described as volatile. In the previous month alone, the bitcoin prices ranged from $500 to $1200. Those holding bitcoins refused to spend because they hoped the value would increase, while merchants refused to accept them out of fear the value would decrease.
Overstock.com is hoping to avoid this issue by converting the bitcoins into US currency when purchases are made. Despite these problems, the increased acceptance of bitcoins will help the currency grow in stability, which will help in the long run. Many are still cautious to consider using a currency that is unregulated, however, support for bitcoins is growing rapidly. Support has grown to the point that the US Congress formed a special committee just to research them and their use to decide if they should be regulated.